Nigeria Independent Accountability Mechanism for MNCH
This paper outlines the Nigeria Independent Accountability Mechanism (NIAM). This is an independent group that monitors the implementation progress of Nigeria’s national roadmap to advance women’s and children’s health.
The paper focuses on how NIAM was established and its intended role in improving national-level accountability in maternal, newborn, and child health.
The paper is part of a series of articles on the Evidence for Action (E4A) programme published in the International Journal for Gynecology and Obstetrics (IJGO). It is co-authored by E4A Nigeria’s Regional Coordinator and Evidence Advisor and the TSU Coordinator.
Since the 2010 launch of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, worldwide political energy coalesced around improving the health of women and children.
The Commission on Information and Accountability (CoIA) was established in response: accountability and transparency were acknowledged to be priority areas for addressing women and children’s health. CoIA recommended that “all countries to have established national accountability mechanisms that are transparent, that are inclusive of all stakeholders, and that recommend remedial action”.
Nigeria acted on this recommendation and became one of the first countries to establish an independent group known as the Nigeria Independent Accountability Mechanism (NIAM).
Accountability in Nigeria
NIAM was set up as part of the wider Accountability for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health in Nigeria (AMHiN) network.
As a citizen-led accountability mechanism, NIAM is made up of high-profile individuals outside of government. Despite this, the group is integrated with government processes and is recognised by the government to review and report on progress.
NIAM’s nine members were elected from AMHiN in May 2014. These members represent the six geopolitical zones of the country in various capacities, including the media, civil society and health professional bodies. The group therefore includes a diverse range of relevant knowledge and expertise to help achieve the aims of NIAM.
The article provides further detail on the background to NIAM, accountability in maternal, neonatal and child health in Nigeria, and AMHiN’s participation in global accountability processes. It also outlines NIAM’s six specific aims.
The authors recommend that formalised dialogue between government and civil society should be utilised more to achieve national goals.